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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Bucking Problem/Green Horse


I recently bought a 4 yr. old TB/QH/Appy cross. He has wonderful ground manners, and has been under saddle for about a year. He has also been jumping for 2 months. I brought him home, but after a week, I moved him because I didn’t think he was doing well there. The place where I moved him to has a huge sand/bluestone ring. I have been working with him on the ground in the ring, doing exercises and lunging him to get him used to the new ring. Last week, when he was comfortable I (tried) to ride him for the first time there. He walked well for about 5 seconds, then shied at something and started bucking. I was off balance after he shied, so this is why I thought he bucked and finally got me off. I tried to lead him back into the ring, but he balked, and refused to go. I then put his halter on him, and walked him around in the ring and he was fine.

Yesterday, though, when I tried to ride him again after some more groundwork, he was doing really well at walk/trot, but then I asked for the canter, and he just took off at a full gallop. After about 2 strides, he started bucking, and after about 5 bucks, I came off again. This time though, I led him back into the ring, got back on and walked around for 5 minutes before dismounting and putting him in his stall. He was fine with that.

As I mentioned before, the ring is very large, and when I asked for the canter, he was facing the open part of the ring. Do you think that this might have anything to do with it?

Nothing is wrong with his back because I had the saddle fitter come out and take a look at him, and she said that there were no problems with his back. His bridle and saddle also fit correctly. The vet also came out and said that his adult teeth were coming in. Do you think that that might have something to do with his bucking? I also have ridden him at the place he was previously boarding, and he was fine. Now I am scared to get on him or let my daughter get on and ride him because of the fear that he will buck. Any advice you could give me would be wonderful. I am always on your site and think it is marvelous. He really is a good horse, very calm, quiet and relaxed. I just have no idea what could have provoked this behavior.

Any advice or comments you could give would be amazing. Thanks again for your time!


Hi Alie,

Thank you for the kind words about my website. Sorry it has taken me a while to respond. I have been in Europe (Greece and England) teaching and training horses for nearly a month. BTW what sort of a bit are you using? Just curious. I always recommend the mildest snaffle possible.

Anytime you make a change in a horse's environment, routine or anything, there is a period of adjustment that is required. Sounds like he has definately not gotten accostumed to his new 'digs'. The bigger arena is scary to him. It will take some time for your horse to gain confidence and trust in the new facility. He is still very much a youngster and very green which is normal for a four year old. I think more patience, schooling and time will definately be required on your part. As your horse is still very young, it should not be expected of him to be totally reliable for a child or even a low intermediate rider. It will be another several years of good schooling and consistent riding before he would be reliable for a child or high novice. A four year old is just too young to be expected to be that safe for a child. If you had intended to get a horse suitable for a child as well as yourself, I would have suggested at least a six and perhaps an eight year old horse (bombproofed). Certainly not a green four year old. Please consider it will be a few more years before he can expected to be really safe for a child. May I inquire why you bought a young, green horse? Any four year old is green no matter what. The move has contributed to his insecurity and it will take some time to bring him to trust he is OK in his new home. I would suggest spending as much time with him as possible in ground play and undersaddle solid schooling. If you are afraid of him, that will increase his fear and anxuety and everything will only get worse and will take longer. He needs skillful and very good leadership. Please do not let anyone try to 'make' your horse do anything or 'teach him a lesson' or anything abuseive like that. This is how terrible problems start for innocent horses. You may be over matched here and you might consider getting an older, more experienced horse for the two of you. Finding a great home for a green broke horse is not easy. Most folks do not have the skill or patience for such a challenge. So many folks buy horses on impulse and end in situations similar to yours.

I don't mean to sound discouraging. I am trying to be realistic about the task before you. It is several years of schooling under saddle, a lot ground play and miles and miles of trails before you have the horse of your dreams. Please let me know your thoughts and feelings. Blessings to you, your daughter and horse.

Sincerely, Franklin

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